Stanford Official Mascot

December 25, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Stanford Official Mascot

One unique campus culture Stanford upholds is that it does not have a Stanford official mascot. They may not have an official unifying figure that would rouse school pride, this does not make them less of a fun school compared to other leading universities.

In this piece, we will learn about Standford University’s dynamics when it comes to school spirit and how it pursues being sensitive and inclusive to the student body while at the same time providing good times for both students and alumni.

Does Stanford have an unofficial mascot?

At this time, Stanford University does not have an official mascot. However, a fun fact about this institution is that they got their motivation to boost school spirit and solidarity from a tree. The complete opposite of Stanford official mascot, the unofficial character of Stanford school spirit is called “The Tree” It is an integral and indispensable part of the Stanford Band.

Stanford campus sprawled with students

The Tree is reminiscent of El Palo Alto, the iconic redwood tree that serves as the emblem for the city of Palo Alto in California.

It is a logical progression of this relationship that Stanford University and Palo Alto are nearly inextricably interwoven in terms of their interests and locations.

This kind of tree is still around and can be found standing next to the railroad bridge that crosses San Francisquito Creek; this is the location where the earliest early settlers in the area set up camp as they were exploring the area.

The unofficial mascot also bears the university’s symbol. The Tree wears a new costume every year, which typically includes brightly colored leaves, a smile that is reminiscent of a cartoon character, and googly eyes.

What are Stanford’s official colors?

In 1891, when Stanford was first opening its doors to students, the student body really voted for gold to be the school’s official color.

However, another student assembly chose Cardinal to be the school color. After Stanford’s victory over Cal in the inaugural Big Game, local sportswriters started picking up on the “Cardinal” theme a few days after the election (March 19, 1892). The headlines all say that Cardinal Wins Over Blue and Gold.

Cardinal remained the school color until the 1940s when rules committees and conferences began regulating jersey colors for home and visiting football teams.

At that time, home teams wore red jerseys, and away teams wore white jerseys. The Board of Athletic Control at Stanford decided to go with white as their second color.

center plaza of Stanford University

Cardinal red and white are the colors that represent Stanford University as its official school colors. Had the school decided to have a new Stanford official mascot, cardinal red and white would have been utilized also in all of the mascot’s garments.

What is Stanford’s nickname?

The University of Stanford is known by its mascot, the Cardinal, which is derived from one of the school’s colors (and is therefore in the singular).

The first Big Game was played on March 19, 1891, and Stanford won it over Cal. This victory marked the beginning of Stanford’s history with its namesake.

Even though Stanford did not officially have a moniker, the day after the Big Game, local newspapers began using the word “cardinal” as a theme in their headlines. This continued for the next week.

Before the Indians became the school’s unofficial moniker in 1930, Stanford did not have a nickname.

It’s possible that it originated from the fact that the Bear was Cal’s mascot, or it may have originated from the large Indian population in the area, or it could have originated from the availability of Indian materials in the late 1800s.

Regardless of where it came from, sportswriters embraced it, and over time, it gradually achieved widespread awareness.

In a unanimous vote on November 25, 1930, the Executive Committee for the Associated Students at Stanford University decided to officially adopt the Indian nickname for the university.

Prior to the official vote, the Indian was already widely recognized as being the symbol of Stanford, despite the fact that its history is shrouded in mystery.

The following is an excerpt from the resolution that was approved: “Whereas the Indian has long been unofficially recognized as the symbol of Stanford and its spirit, and whereas there has never been any official designation of a Stanford symbol, be it hereby resolved that the Executive Committee adopt the Indian as the symbol of Stanford.”

After a series of discussions in 1972 between native American students at Stanford and President Richard Lyman, the Indian insignia was eventually removed from the university’s mascot.

The 55 students, along with the other 358 American Indians attending institutions in California, thought that the mascot was an affront to their culture and traditions, and they were supported in this belief by their peers.

Group of friends taking a selfie using a camera.

Following these discussions and the subsequent exposure, the Stanford Student Senate voted 18-4 to get rid of the Indian insignia, and Lyman was on board with this decision.

The first student referendum on the matter was held in May of 1972, and the results were 1,755 students voting in favor of returning the Indian and 1,298 students voting against it.

The results of the second vote, which took place from December 3-4, 1975, were 885 in favor and 1,915 opposed.

In 1975, there was a campaign to bring back the Indian as Stanford official mascot. The topic of discussion was put up for a vote, along with some fresh ideas, which included Robber Barons, Sequoias, Trees, Cardinals, Railroaders, Spikes, and Huns. None of the recommendations were taken into consideration.

A second group, consisting of 225 varsity athletes from 18 different sports, began a petition for the school’s mascot to be the griffin in 1978.

The griffin is a mythological creature that has the torso and hind legs of a lion as well as the head and wings of an eagle.

The University relocated two statues of griffins from the Children’s Hospital to a grassy space that is located between Encina Gym and Angel Field. The Griffins’ effort was a complete and utter failure.

Cardinals was Stanford University’s official nickname from 1972 to November 17, 1981. Despite popular belief, the moniker derives from one of the school’s colors rather than the bird.

Even after nine years had passed since the Indian had been removed as the school’s mascot, Stanford had not selected a replacement.

In 1981, President Donald Kennedy made the proclamation that the color cardinal would be the exclusive one used to signify and symbolize all of Stanford University’s varsity athletic teams. “Even if a number of other mascots have been proposed and subsequently allowed to fizzle out, the color has continued to serve us well over the past 90 years, as it has done so consistently.” “It is a metaphor that is both rich and vivid for the very pulse of existence itself.”

Why did Stanford remove its former mascot?

What were the reasons for the removal of the previous Stanford official mascot? When the Big Game rolls around each year, it is highly probable that you will overhear some of Stanford’s pre-Cardinal alumni reminiscing about the good old days when the school’s mascot was an “Indian.” They remember an Indian mascot that they were forced to give up. To some, it is the Stanford mascot that they had hoped to be able to keep.

People may even stare at you as though they anticipate that you are aware of the history of the mascot, and that you will either feel sorry that it was taken from them or pledge that you will alter your mind and give it back. What exactly is the backstory behind the Indian that serves as Stanford’s mascot, anyway?

The “Indian” was selected as the mascot for Stanford’s sporting teams in 1930, and it served in that capacity until 1970. The “Indian” is most frequently shown as a cartoonish depiction of a diminutive Native American with an oversized nose.

In November of 1970, a group of Native Americans delivered a petition to the acting Dean of Students in which they voiced their opposition to the resurfacing of an American Indian as Stanford official mascot, specifically the live performances given by Timm Williams or Prince Lightfoot at athletic events for the previous 19 years.

The students had the impression that the acts were an attempt to make fun of Indian religious rituals. The Native American students arranged a meeting with University President Lyman in January 1971 to examine the possibility of terminating the mascot performances.

As a result of this initial collective action, the Stanford American Indian Organization Organization (SAIO) was officially constituted as a newly formed organization.

In February of 1972, fifty-five Native American students and staff members at Stanford University delivered a petition to the University Ombudsperson, who then brought it to President Lyman of the university.

In the petition that was submitted in 1972, it was requested that “the use of the Indian symbol be permanently discontinued.” Additionally, it was requested that the University “fulfill its promise to the students of its Native American Program by improving and supporting the program and thereby making its promise to improve Native American education a reality.”

The petition went on to say that the Stanford community was insensitive to the humanity of Native Americans, that the lack of knowledge demonstrated by the name of a race being placed on its entertainment was demonstrated by a lack of knowledge, and that the fact that a race of individuals cannot be entertainment was problematic.

The Indian community felt that the mascot, in all of its incarnations, was disrespectful to Native American culture, stereotyped, and made fun of Indian traditions.

The group suggested that by removing the Indian as Stanford official mascot, the “University would be renouncing a grotesque ignorance that it has previously condoned,” and by “retracting its misuse of the Indian symbol,” Stanford would be displaying a “readily progressive concern for the American Indians of the United States.” The group suggested that by removing the Indian as Stanford’s symbol, the “University would be renouncing a grotesque

In February of 1972, the Ombudsperson, Lois Amsterdam, presented the petition to President Lyman. She added her own perspective of the situation at the time to the presentation. “The fact that Stanford continued to utilize the Indian emblem throughout the 1970s brings the university’s sad lack of sensitivity and awareness to light and pushes it into the spotlight.”

View of students walking in the school campus

We have all, knowingly or unknowingly, embraced and supported the usage of the Indian sign on campus, either via our actions or our inactions. We had no ill will against any race group, nor did we want to dishonor any of them with our actions.

Instead, it was a mirror of the slowed-down comprehension, dulled senses, and distorted vision that our culture possesses.

When such juvenile misrepresentations as those seen in games, history books, and movies make up a significant portion of our experience, developing sensitivity and understanding does not come naturally to us.”

Following this, President Lyman made the final and formal decision to do away with the Indian as Stanford official mascot for good.

There have, over the years, been unsuccessful movements to reinstall the Indian as the team’s mascot or, in 1975, to replace the big-nosed caricature of an Indian with a more “noble” picture of an Indian. Both of these attempts were made in 1975.

In December of 1975, the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) held a vote in which they decided not to reinstate the first Indian mascot, nor did they vote to replace it with another more noble Indian.

This was done as a show of support for the decision made by the administration of the university.

Nearly every year, and particularly around the time of the Big Game, individuals will begin again a campaign to bring back into fashion their Indian sweaters, headbands, and Halloween war paint, all the while claiming that it is an honor to be selected as the emblem of a prestigious university.

The university made the decision in 1972 that “any and all Stanford University use of the Indian Symbol should be immediately disavowed and permanently stopped,” and every year since then, the administration has reaffirmed its commitment by simply stating that the use of an American Indian reference for Stanford official mascot is not up for a vote.

Experience Stanford school spirit with our help

Many people look up to Stanford because of the importance it places on being sensitive to different cultures.

You should seek the guidance of professionals who work in the subject of college admissions, such as those who work at AdmissionSight, in order to boost your chances of being accepted to Stanford if getting into Stanford is one of your goals.

AdmissionSight has become the most trusted name in the field of college admissions advice as a result of its more than a decade of expertise assisting students just like you in gaining admission to the colleges of their first and second preferences.

Please get in touch with us as soon as you can so that we can schedule an initial consultation that will be provided free of charge.





Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.